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The story about those hands is very sad and very happy as well.. Hard to explain.. I named it : "Standing in front of the gate to heaven." please.. here it is :
Neonatology, a subdiscipline of pediatrics, offers medical treatment to neonates, the diseased and the premature ones.
I stood facing the gate to heaven... Someone entered it, someone left it to descend to the Earth. I am a father of two daughters. Of two beautiful and healthy girls. I´m familiar with the fear caused by fever and even though the nights I have stayed awake might be counted on the fingers of my hands, suddenly I percieve the life in a different way.
I hold out my hand to a doctor – God´s right hand. In his eyes I can see the incredible energy and determination.
I enter the department of neonatology with him. As he starts his work, doctor Krcho, the chief of department, that has been working in this field since 1989, also begins his narration about people, their worries, opportunities, about the hardship and complexity of the whole system.
There are 10 doctors and 38 nurses at both departments that work in four shifts. Each of them is able to accomodate between 20 to 24 babies in danger of death. The fight for their life starts after their arrival and a complex check-up. The first steps, taken shortly after, will be decisive not only in the development of his or her condition, but will also influence the possible long-lasting consequences. However, many parents do not realize how critical is the state their child is in, such as for example a severe brain damage. Almost always they expect doctors to make a miracle and the possible consequences, that will effect not only the child´s life, but also theirs, would not even come to their mind. Just to think of such a situation makes my flash crawl and I have no idea how would I react were I at their place...
The stay of neonates, the premature and diseased ones, oscilates between two weeks and four months depending on various factors. The child with a weight over 2000gr (if its condition allows it) can be taken home... But the medical care doesn´t cease and its state is under pernament control of specialized consultories, oculists, orthopedists, cardiologists, neurologues and nephrologists... However the most important steps are taken at the department of neonatology.
The premature birth can be caused not only by both way too high or way too low age of the mother, but also the women that undergo artificial insemination are in danger, for this method allows multiple pregnancy. Furthermore, it is the alcohol, cigarettes, incorrect regime that causes the premature birth, but sometimes it can be also psicological problems, diabetes, viral infection or womb diseases that incease the danger. It might sound like a paradox, but the acomplishments of the present-day medicine are also the reason of such problems, for they allow pregnancy in cases, in which, few years ago, such thing would be impossible to achieve.
Doctor Krcho approaches only few hours old baby-girl, whose mother is 16 years old. I feel so impressed while I look at that little creature, that even though is not bigger than my hands, has such a strenght to fight for her life. I keep track of personnel´s team work. They are so calm, balanced, so strong... Everything has its precise rules and procedures.
I believe to witness a miracle, when I see a baby born in 24th week – whose stay in this world is a great message. „ the heart´s gettin´ better, the presure´s stabilized, the colour´s coming back.." They cut off the umblical cord and introduce two cateters that will supplement the tiny body with the medicaments and nutrition that it needs... The doctor stands up and says: „ Ok, that´s it, we´re done." And I believe to have seen something that resembled a smile.
But this is only the begining. Many complications may arise, such as different infections, bacterial sepsis or brain hemorrhage.
Doctor Krcho continues with the description of the whole process. I can see the nurses changing the giant nappies, controling all the appliances. I can see the mothers holding with love their children, even despite all the tubes. Who knows what are those little ones thinking about.. And what about their mothers?! Mommies that are, after a tough fight, finally allowed to caress their sweethearts. I think of their fathers. I remeber the birth of my daughters, the fear I felt seemed unbearable to me, but in comparison to what they have to be going through I think they deserve a nobel price for courage. The have to support the woman – the mother and cannot fail, they have to trust doctors and believe in their children... And not lose their mind.
Appliances, instruments, tubes, strict norms, procedures... and among it beautiful slippers for these little defenceless babies hand-made by the nurses. I get to know about the lack of money, apparatuses, about the need of people with ardour and an opened heart. I hear about tough moments and impossible decisions in which the babies are divided into those, that will have the chance to take the shot in this life, and those, that will increase the number of angels in the heaven.
The hands - like God´s tools, they help, save, caress, work.. they are skilful, necessary and perfectly invented. The hands of doctors and nurses look so gentle even though so huge while caressing the little head. Their hands are golden.
With the consent of doctor Krcho and the parents, we would like to explain you the importance of a digital camera, that in several cases was the only mean of connection between the mother and her child... After a very complicated birth the mother died. However, thanks to the small camera, that is usually used for documentation or quick (and many times only virtual) communication with other experts, the mother was able to see her little baby before she breathed her last.
The deparment of neonatology is an important part of the hospital. However, not many parents know about it unless they had been there with their child. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to this world, to offer you the chance to get to know their hands, their work, possibilities, shortages... But the most important thing I want to show is the strenght of these children, their desire for life, their courage to fight and to win this battle.
When I ask doctor Krcho whether he feels like God when he saves a life in case where others would give in, he responds with a serious face:
„ No, I don´t. I feel that way when we decide that the chance of life is gone and the appliance therefore can be switched off."